The federal government will introduce new federal autonomous guidelines this summer in an effort to modernize regulations to fit a self-driving future, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Sunday in a speech in advance of the 2018 Detroit auto show.
The third version of the voluntary guidelines for testing and deployment of autonomous technology, updated as recently as September of last year, will focus on expanding guidance to trucking, infrastructure, transit and other industries affected by this technology.
The new guidelines will keep the voluntary Safety Assessment Letters set forth by the Obama administration that requested car and technology companies to publicly release information about autonomous tech undergoing testing.
Chao specifically referenced General Motors' request last week to NHTSA to bypass certain federal regulations in advance of launching a fleet of robotaxis next year as an example of the speed of change that is occurring.
"This kind of request about removing certain aspects of what goes in a car that was for human interaction has been discussed for a long time," Chao said to reporters following her remarks. "With the rapid advancement of the self driving technology, this request is now a reality. We will view the petition carefully and responsibly."
The DOT did not indicate a timeline for review of the petition.
Chao also specially referenced Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for plans to invest in new U.S. manufacturing jobs and distribute $2,000 bonuses to some 60,000 U.S. employees, crediting the announcement to the recently passed corporate tax cuts.
"This is just one example of the positive impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on workers, job creators and our country," Chao said.
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